Book review 1) The Particle at the End of the Universe

Hi,
I saw already lot of people to do book review, like Joseph from Rationalising the Universe or Abyssbrain from Mathemagical site. I have already used a lot of parts from this book in posts about dark matter, dark energy, particle accelerators and so on.

It is book: The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll. It is about particle physics and the Higgs boson.


This book has 13 chapters and three extra three parts explaining some stuff around.
Author starts the book with short introduction to history of particle physics, what people thought that was making up everything. He mentions elements, atoms and so on, then he introduces higgs boson and his role in standard model of physics. He explains why he thinks that it is important to study it and what part LHC plays in this.

In second chapter Sean explains why Higgs is also called “god particle” and the relationship of physicists with god. There is also review of properties of Higgs and some things about fields.

In third chapter author introduces whole standard model and how higgs boson changes it. There are parts about all particles and all four interactions.

Fourth chapter is about the story of accelerators and how they work. This continues to next chapter where there is description of all the work that had to be done to build LHC with credit to all people. Author describes how are particles detected and how they decay.

Whole chapter is just about fields and gravitational waves continuing about symmetries and how they are broken. This is also probably the most complex part of the book which I had to read more times to really get to know what is it all about.

He continues with deep look into finding of Higgs boson with stories about all the people around, and the excitement about it.

There are stories about destroying the world with LHC creating black holes and author perfectly talks about the way news are used in magazines and how physicists were trying their best to not let spread a wrong news about Higgs.

In 11th chapter Sean is talking about Nobel awards for particle physics that led towards Higgs.

The book ends with text about the new things that are now opened for scientists to discover when they know that the particle really exists.

In three extra parts author adds some more context to spin, standard model and Feynman diagrams.


 

This book is really well written and I give it 10/10. I really recommend it to anybody who wants some introduction to particle physics because with all those analogies you will never be lost. I like how Sean also describes all those people around the great work and how all of this makes the whole picture and story behind “The Particle at the End of the Universe.”

Dragallur

Picture of Czech book
Picture of English book

The book review of: The Organized Mind
The book review of: On the Origin of Species

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The Standard Model for dummies!

Hi,
last time I talked about some stuff like dark matter (1 & 2), dark energy and I did not explain a lot of things which I mentioned and this time I will talk about Standard Model.


Standard model or Standard model of particles and interaction is the model of all observed and proved particles.

The next picture shows how it looks like, you could say that it is the “modern” periodic table or some kind of holy grail of physics.

So in this standard model you have particles that make up everything we know [1].

There are four main groups which are sorted by the forces they interact with.

All of those particles interact with gravity. Quarks also interact through strong nuclear force while leptons do not interact that way, also all of them have whole numbers for charge.

The red part has inside particles which are what is called “force carriers” they carry the fundamental forces with graviton excluded because he is not proven yet.

The most mysterious is the yellow part with only Higgs boson inside, I will make sure to make a whole chapter only about it.

Quarks

Already months and months ago I made post about quarks. Here I will cut it short so, quarks are particles that made everything there is except just a little part which is made from electrons. Quarks normally group together into hadrons – protons, neutrons, pions. Quarks have charge of either +2/3 or -1/3. They also have a property called color which is not color at all and they must group together so their colors cancel into white (white) [2].

Leptons

There are three main particles called: electrons, muons and tauons. Only electrons are actually somewhere while we can create other in the particle accelerator.

All of those have -1 charge but there are other particles called neutrinos. Electrons, muons and tauons all have their neutrino.

I already wrote about neutrinos but they are actually extremely light particles sometimes called “ghost” particles because they can easily go through whole planet Earth without touching anything. They are also electrically neutral.

Force carriers

Gluons are particles that are mass less and they carry the strong nuclear force.
Photons are also mass less and they carry electromagnetism.
Gauge bosons (W+- and Z) carry weak nuclear force.

Most of those particles have mass and that is because of Higgs boson, but that is whole new story which I will have to start with symmetries and fields, stay tuned.

Also main difference between force carriers and everything else is that they do not need any space to exist, there can be millions of them at one spot while only one lepton or quark.

Dragallur


 

[1] I do not talk about dark matter which I mentioned in earlier posts. WIMPs are not here since they do not belong into standard model, those are particles beyond the model even if they exist.

[2] Quarks have 3 basic colors: Red, Green and Blue but there are of course anti quarks which have just opposite colors: Antired, Antigreen and antiblue.

The riddle of DARK ENERGY!

Hi,
today I will write about dark energy since last time I briefly covered the dark matter. The dark energy is even more unknown than the dark matter, let’s see why.


As I said before, there is about 70% of dark energy in the Universe of all the energy that there is, rest belongs to dark matter and tiny bit to normal matter.

Dark energy has to do a lot with expansion of Universe which was find out last century by Edwin Hubble. He found out that the Universe is expanding and right now we even know that the rate of expanding even increases (The Big Rip scenario).

Why? Because there is something called dark energy and we know that it works kind of like “anti-gravity” this could be misleading since the gravity is still there so it is also said that it has “negative” pressure.

Dark energy is everywhere at the same amount and as the space is expanding there is more of it created. This does not violate conservation of energy since the force of gravity decreases at the same time with the distance increasing. I guess that this is why the expansion increases.

There are four theories which I found about the dark energy, the first one is that dark energy is not a thing but rather property of empty space and empty space is expanding and as the expansion increases so does the rate.

Second idea is the idea of cosmological constant which was made by Einstein. At the start it was constant which would be zero so that space would be static but as Hubble found out Universe is expanding so the cosmological constant, which is kind of property of space must be higher than zero. Now lot of cosmologists are trying to measure this constant, this is a big problem since when we try to calculate it, it goes with orders of magnitude away from what we can observe and it is simply wrong.

Or also virtual particles popping in and out of existence in space could give energy to this dark energy.

Simply we do not know much about it but we know that it must exist in some kind of form.

Dragallur